Travel Horror Story: Instant Mommy in London

About ten years ago, I visited London on a ten day vacation. Most of the trip went well until the last two days. I had met up with a friend from Canada, and she took me to visit a family she had befriended a few years earlier.

The family of four seemed nice enough, but within about ten minutes of arriving, their young daughter began calling me “mummy.” I have always been uncomfortable around children. I kept saying, “You already have a mommy.” The daughter would reply with, “If something happens to our mummy, will you be our ?” The mother sat next to me, and seemed unaffected.

The next afternoon, I happened to be standing in the hallway when the parents walked in with their daughter. The second the girl saw me, she ran up yelling, “MUMMY!!!!” and threw her arms around my legs. I looked up, and the mother said, “I think you’re making our guest uncomfortable,” then walked in the other room.

Later, I found myself sitting with the daughter on one knee, the family’s dog on the other, and their cat on my back. My friend, who loves both children and cats, sat there begging the cat and the girl to come sit with her. While I missed the girl and her family when the trip was over, it was one of the most uncomfortable situations in which I have ever found myself, and I was very happy to get out of there.…